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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 02 May 15 at 14:30 PM

The Report: Bolton Wanderers 0 Blues 1

Birmingham City finished their Sky Bet Championship campaign on a high after beating Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at the Macron Stadium.

Robert Tesche's 42nd minute strike not only ensured that Blues finished the season with a trio of wins, it also secured a top ten finish for Gary Rowett's side.

The match started quite evenly, with both side's enjoying spells in the opposition's half. After eight minutes former Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen tested Darren Randolph with a low driven free-kick from the edge of the area, which the Blues stopper was equal to.

Ten minutes later and German midfielder Robert Tesche brought Adam Bogdan into action for the first time when he also tried his luck from the edge of the area but his effort never really threatening the Bolton 'keeper.

At times, Bolton forward Adam Le Fondre caused the Blues back-line some difficulty when the striker on a number of occasions found space in the attacking third. After 25 minutes, Le Fondre found himself on the byline, his pull back found former Blues' striker Emile Heskey but Blues managed to scramble the ball away before the former England international could get his shot away.

Blues had showed some promising attacking play but at times lacked that final ball, on numerous occassions Diego Fabbrini had the ball on the edge of the area but was denied by the Bolton who defence stood firm.

Just before the half-hour mark Demarai Gray nearly picked out the head of Michael Morrison from a whipped in free-kick, but the Blues defender couldn't get the contact it needed and the hosts cleared.

Three minutes later and Heskey nearly headed Bolton ahead. Le Fondre's cross picking out Heskey, but the striker headed inches past Randolph's post.

As the half wore on, Blues grew into the match and in the ten minutes leading to the interval were the more dominant side. Clayton Donaldson was denied by a sprawling Bogdan just before Jonathan Grounds saw his right-footed effort curl narrowly over the angle of the goal.

Lloyd Dyer had a glorious chance to put Blues ahead, Gray's low cross found the winger in the six-yard box but he couldn't get the desired contact and the ball flashed across the Bolton area.

Three minutes later and Blues deservedly took the lead. Gray nearly catching Bogdan out at his near post from a corner, the Trotter's 'keeper beating the ball away, but only as far as Tesche who fired the ball back past Bogdan.

Bolton came out firing in the second half and thought they'd drawn level two minutes in, with Gudjohnsen putting the ball in the back of the Blues net, but the Icelandic striker was disappointed to see the offside flag raised.

Just after the hour Quade Taylor headed Tom Walker's corner over the bar as the hosts searched for a way back into the match.

With the hosts enjoying much of the possession, Blues looked dangerous on the counter-attack and Gray nearly doubled Blues lead, the young winger cutting in from the left before firing a right-footed effort narrowly over.

Substitute Liam Feeney gave Blues something to think about when he came on, the midfielder setting up Le Fondre but the forward headed over, before Feeney himself scooped an effort over the bar from the penalty spot.

Le Fondre then thought he'd broke the offside trap before he fired inches wide but again, it wouldn't have counted as the forward mis-timed his run and was adjudged offside.

As the match entered its final ten minutes full-back Oscar Threlkeld fired in a thunderous cross which had Randolph beaten, but fortunately for Blues, Paul Caddis was on hand to clear before the ball found Feeney lurking at the far post.

Blues could have extended their lead in stoppage time, when Gray burst forward into the Bolton area, his pull back found Lloyd Dyer who couldn't sort his feet and in time which gave the hosts chance to clear.

The Bolton onslaught never really got going and Blues comfortably saw out the match and finished the season on a high and secured a top ten finish - a remarkable turnaround since Gary Rowett and his backroom team took charge.


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